Getting to the Bottom of Food Related Symptoms

More and more people today are suffering from bloating, IBS, flatulence, lack of energy & fatigue, high blood pressure and many more health conditions.

Some of the symptoms you could be experiencing can range from embarrassing with flatulence to life threatening with unmanaged high blood pressure and type II diabetes.

It is estimated that more that 44% of the British adult population now have at least 1 food intolerance and the number of people suffering is growing each year. Between 2008 - 2009 over 2 million people were diagnosed with a food intolerance.


The symptoms that you experience can vary from each person but common symptoms are:

  • Bloating

  • Weight gain

  • Weight loss

  • High Blood pressure

  • Headaches

  • Diarrhoea

  • Constipation

  • Vomiting

  • Fatigue

  • Cough

  • Itchy mouth

  • Raches, Hives and Eczema

What do you do if you think have a food intolerance?

A food intolerance is different to a food allergy, a classic food allergy would happen very quickly and possibly very violently after exposure to the food. A food intolerance can occur from 20 minutes to 3-4 days before you get any symptoms, meaning that tracking down and eliminating the food from your diet can take a lot of trial and error.

As an example, the humble tomato for some people can cause inflammation and pain in the joints and muscles, but this can happen a few days after eating them.

Some foods can produce a different reaction in the body each time you have them, all meaning that tracking down the culprit can take a lot of detective work on your own.

Having said that there are several things that you can do to help narrow down what is happening. Keep a food diary and track any symptoms that you may have and when you had them, that's everything that you eat and drink including when you started to experience symptoms and how it made you feel.

There are a number of common foods that cause intolerances:

  1. Wheat

  2. Dairy

  3. Yeast

  4. Sugar

Wheat containing foods:

Bread, pitta bread, wheat based Cereals, wheat flour, breadcrumbs, semolina, pasta, macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, ravioli, cous cous, packet soup, sausage rolls.

Pies, sausages, beef burgers, meat paste, fish fingers, fishcakes, modified starch.

Wheat germ, wheat bran.

Beer, lager, suet.


It is important to remember that wheat is hidden in a number of foods and sauces, when it comes to eliminating wheat from your diet, the most important thing is to remove it in its largest forms, i.e. bread and pasta etc.

To eliminate all traces of wheat from your diet can cause a lot of monitoring. If you are cooking from scratch this should not be too much of a problem.

Wheat alternatives;

Rye, oats, barley, maize corn, rice, quinoa, potato, spelt flour, buckwheat, amaranth, Kamut, Teff. Wheat/gluten free pastas are generally available in health shops and supermarkets.

Cereals, corn flakes, oatabix, porridge oats, millet flakes.

Budweiser, Tiger beer or Kobra beer - these are all rice based.

Rye bread is wheat free, Rye vita. Spelt bread is also acceptable.

Dairy cows milk products.

Cows milk, lactic acid, lactose, buttermilk, sour cream, cheese, cream, yogurt*, whey, casein, certain margarines, ice cream, milk chocolate.

Additional foods that may contain milk

Some cakes, cake mixes, baking powder, soups, salad dressings, sauces.

Remember the same policy applies with dairy - remove the bulk of the food.

Alternatives to milk

Semi skimmed goats milk (if lactose is not the problem), goats cheese, rice milk, almond milk, oat milk, Soya milk ( but not if you have a thyroid problem), sheep’s milk, tofu or Soya cheeses, Soya dessert, Soya ice cream.

Carob is an alternative to chocolate and is also dairy free, if milk is the problem then you can have dark chocolate.

*Yoghurt may be o.k, live yoghurt has been pre-digested by friendly bacteria and therefore it is a partially digested food. But if you think you have an issue with Dairy then best to remove it for the moment.

Yeast foods

If you have to avoid yeast you should avoid:

Bread, marmite, vegemite, malt supplements, stock cubes, gravy mix, Monosodium Glutamate.

Additional fermented yeast products

Buttermilk, vinegar, pickles, chutney, ketchup, mayonnaise, sauces, Soya sauce, miso, tofu, cheese, alcohol. Anything smoked or pickled.


Lemon juice, olive oil, soda bread, vodka and brandy.


If you have a problem with yeast you will also need to avoid sugar. Yeast feeds off sugar particularly sucrose and glucose. You have to remember that yeast is a living thing, if forced the yeast organism that populates the gut will feed off fructose, found in fruit or lactose the sugar found in milk products.

Sugar consumption needs to be kept to a minimum as a sweet tooth will feed a yeast problem.

This includes things such as sweets, chocolate, cakes, buns, puddings, sugar in tea or coffee etc, high sugar drinks and in some cases fruit juices.

Sugar alternatives

As long as there is no yeast intolerance then fructose, raw organic honey, molasses or rice syrup are o.k. in moderation.

Common Symptoms by food:

  • Wheat

  • Fatigue, energy drops, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome - particularly sluggish bowels and constipation or alternating between constipated and loose. Indigestion, water retention, weight problems, lack of concentration, poor memory, poor motivation, lack of clarity, depression.

  • Dairy

  • Bloating, irritable bowel syndrome - particularly spasms and cramps and rushing to the loo, loose stools, flatulence, belching, runny nose, catarrh, excessive mucous in throat sinus area, hay fever, eczema, asthma, chest infections.

  • Yeast

  • Bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, flatulence, craving for sweet things, craving bread - feel bad afterwards, thrush, nail infections, verrucas, warts, heavy white coating on tongue, fatigue, foggy brain feeling, unexplained skin rashes, bad pmt, moods.

  • Coffee

  • Headaches, migraines, nausea, hyperactivity, palpitations, panic attacks, raised blood pressure, diarrhoea and loose stools, insomnia.

  • Sugar

  • Hyperactivity, spots, moods, bloating- yeast problems, energy drops, increase in pain levels e.g. joints.

  • Oranges

  • Headaches, nausea, sickness, eczema, mucous production, hyperactivity, loose stools.

  • Tomatoes

  • Skin complaints, hives, blisters, eczema, arthritis, digestive complaints.

Putting it all together:

You have tracked your food and symptoms, you think that there might be a problem with a particular food.

Now you have a choice, do something about it or accept the symptoms and carry on.

Personally, I am a bit old fashioned and dislike pain, so for me I would remove the food from my diet.

To eliminate a food from your diet you have to do it for a minimum of 30 days, for the best results you need to still keep your food diary and record any symptoms.

If "Dairy" is your problem food type then after a few days you should start to see any symptoms begin to reduce. You must keep track of this so that you know when if happened and if you have any dairy by accident then you will see the symptoms come back.

It is possible that you could have more than 1 food intolerance.

When I had my food intolerance test, I had several foods that were causing my body distress:

  • Dairy - all types Cow, Goat, Sheep all cheese and yogurt products

  • Onion - they would make my eyes really sore the next day